History of the Conservation Board System in Iowa
In 1943, the State Conservation Commission staff presented a bill to the Iowa General Assembly that would permit the establishment of conservation-recreation agencies at the county level. The staff of the Iowa Conservation Commission, sportsman's groups, interested individuals and legislators worked on this bill until it appeared in an acceptable form and was passed by the Iowa General assembly in 1955.
The passage of this bill made possible Section 111A (now Section 350) to the Code of Iowa. This section established specific purposes of the conservation board program. It reads, "...To create a county conservation board. To authorize counties to acquire, develop, maintain, and make available to the inhabitants of the count, public parks, preserves, parkways, playgrounds, recreation centers, museums, county forests, wildlife, and other conservation areas, to promote and preserve the health and general welfare of the people, to encourage the orderly development and conservation of natural resources, and to cultivate good citizenship by providing adequate programs of public recreation."
The broad purposes of this section allow for a great diversity in conservation boards throughout Iowa.
History of the Butler County Conservation Board
The Butler County Conservation Board was created by a majority vote at the General Election held on November 6, 1956. On January 15, 1957, the Butler county Board of Supervisors appointed 5 county residents to the new board.
In it's first year, the Conservation Board purchased a total of 52 acres in two different locations. In 1958, a third area was acquired and a parks maintenance worker was hired at a rate of $15 per day.
By 1974, the Conservation Board managed 9 areas and the dam and powerhouse at Greene. With more work than could be done by the board members, the first full-time executive director was hired.
Today, the Butler County Conservation Board manages 24 areas that contain nearly 1,900 acres of land and employs 4 full-time employees and 2 part-time summer employees.